EL PASO, Texas - UTEP Head Football Sean Kugler Monday addressed concerns over his openness when it comes to discussing player injuries.
Following Saturday's 31-14 loss to Rice, Kugler was asked about the availability of key players injured during the game. The head football coach told reporters he didn't consult with the doctor. A local reporter then asked Kugler about the injuries again and the head coach snapped at the reporter.
Monday, Kugler told reporters, "When the game is over, my routine is to go an break my team down and make sure everyone is okay and then come to the news conference. I do not consult with the doctor until the following day to give doctors, who are qualified, ample time to make decisions on who is available. I am not a doctor," said Kugler.
Kugler then listed the players who are out for the season with an injury.
They are offensive tackle Greg Long, wide receiver Alan Busey -- linebacker Jason Van Hook and defensive back Khalil Brown.
All 4 were injured during Saturday's loss to Rice at the Sun Bowl.
UTEP starting quarterback Ryan Metz was also injured during the game.
Kugler says Metz will be evaluated during the week and if he is unavailable, the starting job will go to either Zach Greenlee or Mark Torrez.
Kugler also responded to recent articles critical of his team during today's news conference. A player was quoted in an El Paso Times article saying fellow UTEP players were fighting on the sidelines during the Rice game.
Kugler said he calls that leadership and approves of players trying to motivate each other. "I expect them to put pressure on each other ... In that locker room, if guys want to get on each other's ass about getting their ass going, I have no problem with that. I call that leadership," Kugler said.
Miners have a short week to prepare for their next game.
The Arizona Wildcats will be coming to town this Friday to take on the Miners at the Sun Bowl.
The game will be televised on ESPN.
Despite the 0-2 start to the season, Kugler says his team isn't backing down,"It's like going out and getting into a fight and getting your tail whipped," Kugler said, "Do you just take it or do you fight back? As a head coach I'm going to fight back."